1960s in the USA are often associated with hippies and their counter-culture movement. But who exactly were hippies? They rejected any social division and believed in peace in the world. Their “if it feels good, do it” attitudes included little forethought nor concern for the consequences of their actions. Hippies rejected middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War.
Psychedelic floral clothing and growing beards that rivaled Rasputin’s in length were the main attributes of the movement’s followers. First the term “hippie” occurred on September 5, 1965 in the article “A New Haven for Beatniks” by San Francisco journalist Michael Fallon.
The beatniks were American writers who were supporting free love and were openly homosexual. Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature. Key features of the “Beat” were drug experimentation and alternative forms of sexuality, strong interest in Eastern religion and a general rejection of materialism. 1967 became very important in the history of hippies. On January 14 the Human Be-In event was organized in the Golden Park in San Francisco. Instead of three thousand of hippies around thirty thousand gathered in the park to celebrate their culture and beliefs. Diggers secretly put LSD in sandwiches that were offered to the crowd for free and the media managed to shoot news episode with hippies dancing and singing in front of the cameras.
Three months later the supporters of the movement gathered in New York for the Central Park Be-In. It has been estimated that around 100 000 of people travelled to San Francisco during the summer of 1967.
However, by the end of the year it was declared that there were no more hippies any more. Many artists and musicians who supported such a lifestyle and organized the Summer of Love moved on and many misgivings left in regard of the hippie culture. Although it is believed that 1967 was the year of the death of the movement, it stayed alive in the USA. The movement even spread overseas to Britain and Australia. As a result of the hippie movement a lot of new music directions occurred and even the whole fashion industry was impacted. People became free and open-minded, however, we can’t deny that it had negative influence on youth who was encouraged to take drugs to clear their consciousness, to fight against government and to practice free relationships.